When Englishman Jeffrey Levy, who made Aliyah four years ago, opened The Antique Toy Gallery in Tel Aviv, he didn’t realize how popular his antique and collectable toys would be in Israel. An active member in the antique toy business for over 40 years, his shop, which is full of top quality old and collectable toys from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, is situated within a mall at 62 Arlozorov Street between Ibn Givrol and Dizengoff.
For many collectors, toys represent a window to a particular epoch, giving an insight to social attitudes of the time and the political driving forces of the period. One of the many toys on display is a monoplane made by the Jewish firm Orobr in 1936. With the Nazis in power, the Orobr owners had to vacate the factory, but as an act of defiance they changed the printed artwork on the plane to include a Star of David on the wings. About 20 of these were made, and according to Jeffrey, it is poetic justice that a toy produced in such circumstances now assumes pride of place in a toy gallery in Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.
Also displayed in the gallery are vintage trains and accessories, charming automatons, early transport toys mirroring the evolution of motor vehicles, and many other toys.
In addition to the gallery, Jeffrey opened a boutique museum next door displaying the finest steam powered toys and accessories from the late 19th century through to the 1920’s. Entrance to the museum is free and all are welcome.
For Jeffrey, antique toys are a serious matter. “These are intrinsic works of art in their own right,” he says. “They have survived the test of time and represent a window into postindustrial revolution society and are highly prized and collectable all over the world.”
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The Antique Toy Gallery & Museum,
62 Arlozorov, Tel Aviv.
052-8750800 or 03-6499890
Open Sunday – Thursday 9.30-17.30